Ohio Wesleyan to Host Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar

William Schweiker to Discuss ‘Ethics in a Time of Many Moralities’ in Feb. 9 Public Lecture

Theological ethics expert William Schweiker, Ph.D., will speak Feb. 9 at Ohio Wesleyan.

DELAWARE, OHIO – William Schweiker, Ph.D., an expert in theological ethics and director of the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion at the University of Chicago, will discuss “Ethics in a Time of Many Moralities” in a free public lecture at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 in Benes Room B of Ohio Wesleyan University’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave.

Schweiker, also the University of Chicago’s Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics, is this year’s Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar at Ohio Wesleyan.

In his lecture, Schweiker will proceed from the observation that the global age is characterized by the interactions among the world’s peoples, religions, and societies, and, thereby, is a time of many moralities. He will consider how religious and ethical thinking should respond to this reality of moral diversity. Are there means to isolate moral commonalities without denying cultural and religious differences? This lecture addresses such questions and outlines a theological ethics required in the face of profound moral and religious differences among peoples.

While on campus, Schweiker will visit religion, philosophy, and English classes, and meet with students who have a special interest in the study of religion, ethics, and literature. He will discuss with faculty and students such topics as the nature and extent of our responsibility for the integrity of life, the relation between religious beliefs and moral convictions, and the ethical debate about the application of technologies (genetic and otherwise) in order to fundamentally alter human “nature” and bring about a post or trans-human future.

His visit is sponsored by Ohio Wesleyan’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter and made possible by the national Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program. Each year, the program makes available 12 or more distinguished scholars who visit colleges and universities with chapters of Phi Beta Kappa. The Visiting Scholars spend two days on each campus, meeting informally with students and faculty members, taking part in classroom discussions, and giving a public lecture. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students. Now entering its 56th year, the Visiting Scholar Program has sent 586 Scholars on 4,845 two-day visits since it was established in 1956.

Schweiker’s scholarship and teaching cross the disciplinary lines of ethics, systematic theology, and hermeneutical (interpretive) philosophy. He is the author of Mimetic Reflections: A Study in Hermeneutics, Theology and Ethics; Responsibility and Christian Ethics; Power, Value and Conviction: Theological Ethics in the Postmodern Age; Theological Ethics and Global Dynamics: In the Time of Many Worlds; Religion and the Human Future: An Essay on Theological Humanism (coauthor); and, most recently, Dust That Breathes: Christian Faith and the New Humanisms. He has edited and contributed to five volumes on moral theory and hermeneutics and is also chief editor and contributor to The Blackwell Companion to Religious Ethics.

He has held named lectureships at universities around the world and was a visiting professor at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Uppsala. His recent work involves theological and ethical questions attentive to global dynamics, comparative ethics, and the possibilities of a renewed and robust religious humanism.

Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society. It has chapters at 276 colleges and universities, and more than 600,000 members. The Ohio Wesleyan Chapter was founded in 1907. It annually elects outstanding liberal arts students in the graduating class, who are initiated on Commencement weekend.


Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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